By Claire Martin
Large scale developments at Macedon Ranges’ Hanging Rock have been set back after the council folded under pressure from local community groups, finally allowing a six-month consultation period focused on the development.
Plans were in motion to build a conference and well-being centre at the historic Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges councillor Sally Piper revealed.
“Council want to give the community an opportunity to comment on this development but more importantly use the consultation as a way of educating the community further and in more detail about the development plans,” Cr Piper said.
Hilary Roberts, from the Hanging Rock Action Group, is one of many still questioning the council’s agenda.
“After seven months of intense frustration at having to deal with the council, they still avoid talking to us, they won’t answer emails, they don’t keep promises that they’ve made and after that, you just build up a certain level of cynicism, what are they hiding?” Mr Roberts said.
“When they voted at last weeks meeting for consultation, they still didn’t rescind the motion to seek a tenderer to build the resort.
“They’re going to follow two conflicting paths at the same time.”
Cr Piper said: “It was decided at the March Ordinary Council Meeting that both (motions)would continue concurrently.”
“There was an alternate motion put forward to stop the development plans while consultation was taking place but this was not supported by the majority of councillors,” Cr Piper said.
“I’d hope we would hold off on any decisions regarding agreements with potential developers until the consultation period (including all comments from public) are finalised and processed.”
With the consultation period set to begin in May Mr Roberts said: “Until the consultation period actually starts, we will pursue everything as vigorously, as possible.”
“We don’t want there to be a lapse, and that’s what we think they’d like to see,” Mr Roberts said.
“The council has already shown they can’t keep their promises, our policy now is to go full bore until we actually get movement.”
Friends of Hanging Rock president and member of the Hanging Rock Advisory committee, Nathan Alexander, said the council had “not been following their policy on consultation and the decision making around the rock itself has not been very transparent”.
“I certainly welcome this new consultation period although it’s going to be a long road and we’ll just have to see what the outcome is in six months’ time,” Mr Alexander said.
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